Thailand's second-largestcinema chain SF Cinema City is gearing up for a public listing on the country'sstock exchange in the first quarter of 2006.

The money raised through theIPO will be used for expansion. SF is set to invest $53m (baht 2.2 bn) in fivenew cinema complexes in 2006.

More than half of thatinvestment will go on two projects: an 11-screen multiplex at Thapra shoppingcentre and a 20-screen megaplex at the extension of the Central World Plaza(formerly known as World Trade Centre) in Bangkok.

While full details of theWorld Plaza project are not yet available, the 20-screen multiplex would be thelargest in Asia, bigger than Golden Screen Cinemas' 18-screen multiplex inMalaysia.

Last month, SF opened aseven-screener in Rattanathipet in the outskirts of Bangkok, bringing its totalnumber of multiplex screens to 75 at nine sites in the country. It alsooperates a total of 40 older screens in eight eastern provinces of Thailand.

Despite last December'sdeadly tsunami, SF will still go ahead with the launch of a seven-screenmultiplex in Phuket. Due to open this December, it will be the island's secondmultiplex following the opening of SF's seven-screener last September.

Cinemas are the core of SF'sentertainment business, which also includes integrated entertainment complexes withkaraoke halls and bowling alleys.